News Column

FPL Biomass-power Deal Gets Nod From Regulators

April 10, 2013
Biomass (file photo)
Biomass (file photo)

The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved Juno Beach-based Florida Power & Light Co.'s contracts with U.S. EcoGen, LLC to purchase renewable power.

U.S. EcoGen plans to construct biomass facilities in Okeechobee, Clay, and Martin Counties, with service expected to begin in 2019.

"These biomass contracts will create jobs for Floridians, help FPL diversify its fuel supply, and save customers money," said PSC Chairman Ronald Brise. "System reliability will also be enhanced, and the contracts help defer the need to construct additional plants generated by fossil fuels."

The three plants are projected to produce a total of 180 megawatts--enough electricity to power 30,000 to 50,000 homes--and will save FPL customers an estimated $90 million over the life of the plants, the PSC said.

More than 140 direct and indirect jobs will be needed to operate each facility during the 30-year contract terms. Eucalyptus will be the dedicated energy crop for the US EcoGen biomass systems.

Florida law says that investor-owned utilities can buy power from biomass plants, but only if doing so costs less than it would for the utilities to produce it themselves.

If EcoGen, with offices in Jupiter and Potomac, Md., brings the plants online, it will mark the first time that FPL has purchased power produced with biomass specifically grown for the purpose of providing feedstock for a power plant.


(c)2013 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: Copyright Palm Beach Post (FL) 2013

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